Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Confectionery Delights from Vienna

Long after the flavor of a fine chocolate disappears, the packaging remains as a treasure to savor for years to come. Many are just as irresistible as the chocolate treats they contain. Choosing a favorite box design is like picking a favorite chocolate, but this Julius Meinl Pralines box from Vienna with the Russian motif and lovely hand lettering rates high. Many of the designers' names are long forgotten sadly, but the beauty of their ephemeral packaging compelled someone to save these boxes for decades. All of these paper confectionary containers and more are available from this Antique Pool dealer in Vienna. They truly belong in a chocolate museum somewhere.

A small box with embossed design to hold liquor-filled bonbons from Heller.

Oscar Pischinger, manufacturer of chocolate wafers and cakes.

Demel, the oldest Viennese confectionery, was founded in 1799. They are admired as much for their decadent chocolates and candies as for the packaging designed by Swiss baron Federico von Berzeviczy-Pallavicini (1909-1989). Pallavicini was a visionary artist and designer, and studied fine arts in Vienna where he was strongly influenced by the Wiener Werkstätte movement. In the late 1920s, he was introduced to Demel by architect and designer Josef Hoffmann—launching his career as a visionary designer of wrapping papers, packaging and ornate window displays. Pallavicini's work is consistently recognized by his use of lively overall pattern and hand lettering with a distinctively flamboyant style. His box designs with hinged lids seen above, are likely dated sometime in the 1930s. 

In 1936, Mr. Pallavicini married Klara, the Jewish niece of owner, Anna Demel, in order to protect her from the menacing threats of Nazism. She was allowed to enter a convent under his name and survived the war. Pallavicini moved to Italy in the late 30s and pursued a career as a magazine illustrator and art director. He later settled in the New York and worked as an art director for Elizabeth Arden, an interior designer for Helena Rubinstein, a stylist for Look magazine and an art director and illustrator for the short-lived, but highly-admired Flair magazine. After Klara died in 1965, Pallavicini managed Demel until 1972, when he sold the family firm. Some of his package designs continue to be in use today.


The last 3 images are for a very rare unfolded cardboard candy box designed by Pallavicini. It characterizes a "Punch & Judy" puppet theater when properly assembled. Below are a few additional early Demel box designs pre-dating Pallavicini's work.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Word & Letter Play

A 1910 spelling game from Germany. 
Bonus points kids for texting in black letter! Hint: mind the word gaps. 
Source: Antique Pool

A rewarding game of wordmaking and taking from 1877 with an 
even more rewarding wood engraved label design.
Source: The Big Game Hunter

A charming crossword game from 1954.
Source: Etsy Paper Creations

 A French wordgame of strategy using letter tiles.
Source: Etsy lestrictmaximum 

Construct the alphabet and a cottage tower at the same time with 
The New Alphabet Game from 1850.
Source: The V&A Museum 

The Super Spelling Card Game from Sylabex.
Source: Etsy Kipperbone 

Scrabble's 1972 Alphabet Game featuring a questionable 
child labor practice of lugging large letters.
Source: eBay

Monday, May 12, 2014

Timely Tutoring in Topics, Tastes and Trends of Typography from Bradbury Thompson

Westvaco Inspirations for Printers may be one of the most influential and highly prized series of paper promotions ever produced in the 20th century. The leaders at Westvaco, formerly named the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, believed their paper promotions should be an educational living record of advertising design and commercial art. What they often produced was something so entirely modern, that many issues still look contemporary seven decades later. Bradbury Thompson (1911-1995) was a key figure in their success. Beginning in 1939, he was responsible for the design and art direction of over sixty of the Westvaco Inspirations issues. Undaunted by minimal resources and budgets, he sourced out historic, public domain images and combined them with modernist effects. He relied on classic typography for the most part, but once went so far as to design a conceptual version of an U&lc alphabet he called Alphabet 26 which premiered in Westavaco Insprirations No. 180 in 1950. One of Thompsons' seldom seen art direction triumphs, issue No.129, is available here. This 16 page issue from 1941 is "A Primer of Typography, Including Timely Tutoring in Topics, Tastes and Trends." Thompson personally designed the front, back and 1st page spread. Other contributors were Charles Sheeler and Stow Wengenroth.